Music Therapy | Overview
Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music-based interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional. Music therapy at Boston Children's Hospital provides direct inpatient care to patients and their families through a family-centered model. Our music therapists are members of the treatment team on inpatient units, providing treatment and education through music-based interventions to support a patient during their hospital admission. Our music therapists work to improve each patient’s hospital stay and achieve optimal recovery while supporting the patient's psychosocial needs.
Our board-certified music therapists are trained to assess patients with a variety of medical conditions to support:
- developmental outcomes related to complex medical diagnosis or prolonged hospitalization
- rehabilitation and recovery of cognitive, sensorimotor, and communication deficits due to neurologic injury or disease
- psychological wellbeing related to short- and long-term effects of a medical diagnosis
- pain management
- emotional expression
- coping with the stress and anxiety of diagnosis and treatment
- family bonding
For more information, please contact the program manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The goal of music therapy
The goal of music therapy is to help patients maximize their physical, psychological, cognitive, and social functioning. Music therapists work with patients and their caregivers to improve the neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes that are at risk due to medical diagnosis and prolonged hospitalization.
Receiving music therapy
To access music therapy while your child is admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital, contact your nurse, child life specialist, and/or care team to have a referral placed.
Joanna Bereaud has been a music therapist at Boston Children’s since 2002. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. She had her internship at the Kennedy Day School of the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton. Joanna is a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)-trained music therapist. Her specializations include the NICU, cardiology, and neurology, and children with special needs. Joanna grew up in Poland, where she studied classical voice and music education.
Brian Costa, MA, MT-BC, NMT/F, graduated from Lesley University with a master's in music therapy and has since received advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy. He has served children, adults, and elders with a wide range of needs and diagnoses including TBI, stroke, ASD, Down syndrome, and pulmonary disease. With Boston Children’s Hospital, Brian is the clinician on the Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant units.
Alexandra (Alex) Ford, MT-BC, has been a part of the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s since 2020. After finishing her studies at Berklee College of Music, Alex completed her clinical internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, and later joined the Children’s team as a full-time clinician. Alex is passionate about the need for robust trauma-informed care models within the pediatric medical system. For her capstone internship project, Alex ran a pilot program to provide increased access to music therapy services for behavioral health boarders in the Emergency Department. As a clinician, she now primarily provides music therapy services to our pediatric behavioral health patients in the Emergency Department, inpatient floors, and Children’s inpatient psychiatric unit. Alex is looking forward to continuing to explore and research how music therapy can uniquely address therapeutic stabilization techniques, somatic expressions of trauma, autonomic reactivity, and other symptoms of complex developmental trauma.
Hannah Foxman has been a music therapist at Boston Children’s Hospital since 2017. As a graduate of Berklee College of Music, she gained experience as a student working with diverse communities in the Boston area, and completed her internship at Boston Children’s. Hannah primarily supports patients on the oncology/hematology and neurology units, but dedicates time to various inpatient floors and outpatient clinics of the hospital.
Mark Fuller, MT-BC, NMT, has been a part of the Music Therapy Program since 2018. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and completed his internship at Boston Children’s. Mark primarily provides music therapy within cardiology, oncology, and intensive care units. Mark’s specializations include working with children with neurologic disorders and diseases, premature infants, and neurodevelopmental care.
Che-Ching Lin joined the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital in January 2023. He graduated from Lesley University with a master in music therapy and had backgrounds in brain science and nursing in Taiwan. Prior to Boston Children’s Hospital, Che-Ching worked with elders with dementia and other neurodegenerative disease as well. Che-Ching is trained and enthusiastic about Neurologic Music Therapy and will primarily be serving the Medicine Patient Services cohort at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Minxue (Mint) Tan has been a part of the Music therapy Program at Boston Children's Hospital since 2022. She holds a master’s degree in Music therapy at New York University and a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Music Therapy and Piano Performance. Mint had her internship at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and had training in Neurologic Music Therapy and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.
Erin Vadala has been a part of the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s since 2023. She is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and she completed her clinical internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a clinician, Erin seeks to implement anti-oppressive practices into her work, integrating an awareness of structural and social inequities and their impact on patients’ wellbeing into her music therapy practice. Erin works primarily with pediatric behavioral health patients in the Emergency Department, inpatient floors, and Children’s inpatient psychiatric unit.
The music therapy department strives to provide educational in-services, lectures, and advocacy within the field of music therapy including internship supervisor trainings, self-care workshops, study groups for the CBMT exam, music therapy for pain and palliative care, and use of specific genres as clinical music therapy tools.
Clinical education opportunities
The Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s provides clinical education for practicum students and interns who are completing their music therapy degree from an accredited music therapy program. Our team provides clinical supervision for trainees seeking clinical experience in the implications and treatment of music therapy in a pediatric setting.
The ideal candidate for an internship at Boston Children’s will be interested in pediatric care and able to relocate to the Boston area for the duration of their internship.
Internship inquiry should be directed to:
Mark Fuller Jr., MT-BC, NMT
Music Therapy Department
Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
- American Music Therapy Association
- New England Region of the Music Therapy Association
- The Certification Board for Music Therapists
Research and innovation
The Department of Music Therapy focuses on providing innovative, cutting-edge research to understand how music therapy can improve the neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes of children during hospitalization. Our music therapists are collaborating and pioneering pediatric music therapy research to expand the understanding of music therapy in the pediatric population.
There is a growing interest in discovering how music can play a role in the treatment of children with a complex medical diagnosis. It is our goal to contribute to scientific research to optimize the future of music therapy and pediatric medicine.
For more information on the role of research in pediatric music therapy, or if you are a clinician/researcher interested in collaborating on research, please contact our program manager at email@example.com.
Boston Children's Hospital – Main Campus
300 Longwood Avenue, Child Life Services
Boston, MA 02115